- “Cowboy vs Edwards” from Singapore (Jun. 23rd) marks the UFC’s return to Asia.
- In the main event, veteran Donald Cerrone faces the younger, speedier Leon Edwards.
- Who will be favored when the odds open and how is the fight likely to play out?
The UFC returns to Singapore this summer with Fight Night 132: Cowboy vs Edwards (Jun. 23rd). Still trying to establish himself in the welterweight division, former lightweight contender Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone aims to put an end to Leon Edwards’ five-fight win streak.
Tale of the Tape
|Donald Cerrone||FIGHTER||Leon Edwards|
|1 win||STREAK||5 wins|
|9-4||WINS/LOSSES BY KO||6-0|
|16-1||WINS/LOSSES BY SUBMISSION||3-0|
After stumbling to a 2-2 start in the UFC, Edwards has put together five straight Ws over the last two years, most recently stopping Peter Sobotta with one second on the clock at Fight Night 127 (Mar. 2018).
Edwards win streak has been quantity over quality. His resume lacks a marquee win over a top-ranked fighter. Arguably the best opponent he’s faced in his career is Kamaru Usman, and he lost to the no. 7-ranked welterweight by unanimous decision (Dec. 2015).
Cerrone is lacking big wins at welterweight, as well, and recently suffered through a three-fight losing streak, but all three of those losses came against top-8 opponents (Darren Till, Robbie Lawler, and Jorge Masvidal) and he fought the best of the best at lightweight (Benson Henderson, Rafael Dos Anjos, etc.).
At 35, Cerrone’s best days are well behind him. Ranked no. 11 at welterweight, it would take a miracle for him to make a run at Tyron Woodley’s title at this stage of his career. But he remains a well-rounded, dangerous fighter, evidenced by his 16 submissions and 9 KO wins.
Of course, the former kickboxer is most comfortable standing and trading, a fact born out by both the highlight reel above and his fight statistics. According to FightMetric, Cerrone lands 4.24 significant strikes per minutes (SLpM) while absorbing 4.09.
The 26-year-old Edwards, on the other hand, is much less active, averaging just 2.17 SLpM but absorbing a minimal 1.90 at the same time. Those numbers are somewhat surprising since (a) his highlight reel looks showcases a speedy, athletic striker:
… and (b) he generally tries to keep fights on the feet, like Cerrone. Neither man averages multiple takedowns per 15 minutes (1.52 for Edwards, 1.35 for Cerrone) and both have a takedown defense that dwarfs their takedown accuracy.
A win over Cerrone would be the biggest of Edwards’ career so far, and he will likely come into the bout a small underdog. Our prediction on the opening moneyline is Cerrone (-125) vs Edwards (-105).
But in what is likely to be a stand-up battle fought at a decently high pace, Edwards is more likely to come out on top.
Absorbing over four significant strikes per minute during a nearly 50-fight career will take its toll on any human, and Cerrone is no exception. Edwards’ propensity for taking fights deep (each of his last seven has gone to round three) will play to his relative youth, and he should become more and more dominant as the bout wears on, exploding on a fatigued Cerrone if/when the third round arrives.
Edwards via decision.